MANILA (UPDATE) - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has denied the application of President Aquino’s ally, the Black and White Movement, to run in the 2013 party-list elections.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes confirmed this in a phone call after Commissioner Lucenito Tagle blurted it out in an ambush interview with media.
The en banc met earlier today and initially, Brillantes declined to make announcements.
Brillantes told the media after the meeting that the en banc voted on Black and White’s case but declined to reveal the results since the paperwork has not been finished yet.
Tagle emerged from the meeting later and unintentionally revealed the decision. “Unanimous eh (cancelled), inannounce na ni chair yun di ba? Nauna pa bako? Basta ako, bumoto against, di ko alam boto ng iba, parang majority naman. It’s a political party. Major ano dun eh it's a political party. Malamang final na yun, may reso na kami pinipirmahan.
"Cancellation ako dun. Nagpirmahan na kami sa cancellation, mukhang majority tignin ko, di pa pala lumalabas.”
Told of Tagle’s slip, Brillantes confirmed that the vote was 5 against and 2 abstentions.
Commissioners Christian Robert Lim and Grace Padaca took no part.
Lim is close to the Black and White Movement while Padaca is a close ally of President Aquino.
The rest--Brillantes, Tagle, Rene Sarmiento, Armando Velasco and Elias Yusoph--voted to deny the application.
Brillantes explained that the en banc merely affirmed the denial of the application by the First Division.
Leah Navarro, first nominee of the Black and White Movement, said, “Although we have yet to receive the Comelec decision formally, the Black and White Movement is very disappointed at its disqualification. We plan on appealing this decision at the Supreme Court.”
The Comelec 1st Division on October 29 ruled to deny the party-list application of the Black and White Movement.
The Black and White Movement has among its nominees, MTRCB member Leah Navarro, who is also a cousin of Akbayan Senatorial candidate, Risa Hontiveros.
The per curiam resolution was handed out by the First Division in a 2-0 vote. Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco voted down Black and White's application; 3rd member Christian Robert Lim took no part because he is close to some members of Black and White.
In its ruling, the panel said that it was constrained to deny the petition for registration as a regional political party under the party-list system even if the group complied with the requisites of registration as a regional political party in the National Capital Region.
However, it also pointed out that Black and White failed to show in its articles of incoporation, by laws, history and track record that it represents the marginalized sectors of women, urban poor and youth.
It pointed out that the group’s primary purpose is to advocate good governance while the by-laws are pro forma. It showed that the track record of the group is also for good governance. “To us there is no question that Black and White courageously stood against corruption in government, fearlessly demanded accountability from public officials and zealously advocated good governance in public office."
The ruling also says, “while it may have involved women, urban poor and youth in this advocacy, their involvement is merely coincidental to the advocacy for good governance. Black and White failed to mention in its track record its accomplishments pertaining to the women sector. Black and White failed to adduce pieces of evidence to substantiate its claim.”
The group can still elevate their bid to the High Court.